Looking for a lighting setup

KBrookeKBrooke Beginner grinnerRegistered Users Posts: 4 Beginner grinner
edited January 11, 2016 in Technique
Hi, I am going to be doing a few events, one is finisher photos from this location at night. The rider will be standing so the bridge is lit in the background. ff6740b9da14ba3544da7e819799c1ba.jpg I currently have one exterior flash, but think I will need a more reliable setup to get the shot. What are your recommendations?

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  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Super Moderators Posts: 21,552 moderator
    edited January 11, 2016
    KBrooke wrote: »
    Hi, I am going to be doing a few events, one is finisher photos from this location at night. The rider will be standing so the bridge is lit in the background. ... I currently have one exterior flash, but think I will need a more reliable setup to get the shot. What are your recommendations?

    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk

    We need lots more information before we can provide input for your shoot.

    I take it that you wish to light a "rider" as your photographic subject and have the bridge at a similar exposure in the background? It would be helpful to know the exposure you used for the bridge in this image and if you believe that to be a correct exposure? We also need to know the color temperature you intend for the scene; daylight/flash or tungsten most likely?

    We need to know the particulars about the "rider", like how much of the "rider" is visible, are they mounted upon something (bicycle, motorcycle, horse, etc.), how far away will the lighting need to be and how broad an area needs to be lit?

    Is there a mains power available, or will you need lighting that is battery powered? Continuous light (fluorescent, tungsten, tungsten halogen, LED, HMI, etc.) or electronic flash (speedlights/speedlites, studio monolights or studio pack lights)?

    What type and style of lighting do you envision and at what ratio(s)? (You may refer to the following links for more information about lighting types and styles: http://digital-photography-school.com/6-portrait-lighting-patterns-every-photographer-should-know/, http://www.sekonic.com/whatisyourspecialty/photographer/articles/the-five-basic-portrait-lighting-setups.aspx, http://blog.snapfactory.com/traditional-lighting-styles/)

    The more information you provide the better we can advise you towards solutions.
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • KBrookeKBrooke Beginner grinner Registered Users Posts: 4 Beginner grinner
    edited January 11, 2016
    It will just be a person standing in the foreground possibly on a motorcycle and not exactly sure yet the event isn't until September. In theory I would like to have the rider lit but the background to still be dark. No power source available. As far as exposure I'm going to play with it I'm not really sure exactly yet. I didn't take this picture this picture was a National Geographic picture but it's from the location of where the riders are going be. As far as the type of light that's what I'm trying to find out I've never used soft boxes or multiple flashes.

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  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Super Moderators Posts: 21,552 moderator
    edited January 11, 2016
    KBrooke wrote: »
    It will just be a person standing in the foreground possibly on a motorcycle and not exactly sure yet the event isn't until September. In theory I would like to have the rider lit but the background to still be dark. No power source available. As far as exposure I'm going to play with it I'm not really sure exactly yet. I didn't take this picture this picture was a National Geographic picture but it's from the location of where the riders are going be. As far as the type of light that's what I'm trying to find out I've never used soft boxes or multiple flashes.

    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk

    Let's start with exposure. Since the lighting on the bridge is a relatively fixed entity, I searched for a photo of the GGB on what looks to be a moonless night. The image I found also still had the EXIF attached, so I knew the exposure for that image, and it looks to me to be a fairly good exposure.

    Reverse calculating the EV from the exposure I came up with an EV of -1. That's pretty dim light.

    For an example exposure setting you might wish to use ISO 100 with f5.6 (the f5.6 just gets you some depth of field) and a time exposure of 60 seconds. That should be fairly close to a proper exposure for the bridge, but you will want to do some tests of your own well before the event to be sure. Remember that the flash exposure for your subject needs to roughly match the bridge exposure, even though the flash exposure for your subject will be instantaneous.

    Since it seems you wish to localize the light to just the subject, I suggest taking your external flash and adding a variable length snoot to it. (A variable length snoot can be just a couple or three telescoping sections of black craft paper/construction paper or black "Foamies" Foam Sheets, etc.) The reason for the variable length is so that you can use your flash to determine the necessary "spread" at specific distances from the camera to the subject. Using the flash attached to your camera is fine, and you can try different focal lengths as well as different light spreads to see what seems right for your application.

    This link should give you some inspiration, but I do suggest building a telescoping version first. Once you know what spread you want, then you can custom build a particular length, or two versions for some flexibility. The idea is to do your experimenting well in advance of the real shoot.

    http://www.diyphotography.net/diy-homemade-speedlite-snoot/

    Now just wait until it's dark and shoot an actual subject and motorcycle. (You can substitute a saw-horse for the motorcycle, but just have something similar in the scene so you can gauge the light.) Vary the lens focal length, distance to subject and snoot extension until you get a desired effect. Record all of the proper settings and you are well under way to understanding at least a good starting point.

    Once you get a proper starting point for the distances and focal lengths and snoot then you can start to experiment further, like using a radio controlled master/slave set to allow distancing the flash from the camera. You might also experiment with grids, and grid/snoot combinations. Again, you really need this experience so you can save tons of time during the actual shoot.

    From here, the sky's the limit. You need to experiment some to find out how to get the flash output back to the -1 EV you need to balance against the bridge.

    You may wish to allow some diffused light at an even lower EV in order to show a bit of extra detail in the surroundings, or not, but you may not know until you try it to see the effect. Just keep adding lights and light modifiers until you see something close to your "vision" of the scene. That's the great thing about having a digital camera; you don't have to wait as long to see a preview of the results.

    Build the flash snoot and wait for a dark and moonless night, then go out and experiment. Good luck and good shooting. thumb.gif
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Super Moderators Posts: 21,552 moderator
    edited January 11, 2016
    I moved this to the Photo Craft - Technique forum as that seems more appropriate. Carry on.
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
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